The contents of this column reflect the letters we had received by the time we went to press, Jan. 7, 2009. Letters are limited to 300 words or fewer. All submissions must include the author's name and location. Opinions expressed are those of the authors.

Hearing Tests Important for All

Last fall, I had a premonition that someone was going to be hit by a car he/she didn’t hear. I hadn’t had a hearing test in eight years. My exposure to noisy machines for 25 years made me to decide to take a hearing test. I took the test, and learned my hearing is normal.

Then it happened: a blind person was hit by a car he never heard. A few of us started talking about hybrids and how quiet they are. I have a friend who owns a hybrid, and asked him if he would come over with it and let us listen for it. I listened only for the motor. A sighted friend told me I heard it from about half a block away. That friend was wearing slippers with bells on them. We could all hear the bells except for one totally blind cane traveler. One person asked where the bells were coming from; the other asked, “What bells?” Our friend shook them harder, but that person still couldn’t hear them. Then she shook them as hard as she could; the person still heard nothing. The scary part of this is the person who couldn’t hear the bells thought her hearing was normal!

My hope is that we blind get up-to-date hearing tests because hearing can diminish so slowly, we won’t know it until it’s too late. The ENT recommended to me that we totals take a hearing test every 5 to 10 years if our hearing is normal, depending on age and circumstances.

-- Donna Hemp, Minneapolis, Minn.

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